A Swing Analysis of the Transformation
The Charles Barkley Golf Swing – Could it be Fixed?
Let’s talk about one of my favorite figures in sports, Charles Barkley! As you likely know, Barkley’s swing has been anything but reliable. In fact, many would argue Barkley had the yips prior to the last couple of years.
Every Charles Barkley golf swing seemed to contain a noticeable hitch (or multiple full-body pumps) to begin his down swing, concluding with a big stand up into the ball. The Charles Barkley golf swing seemed forever stuck and unfixable. To us outsiders, it’s hard to imagine Chuck even wanting to keep playing golf.
Even his good shots in the past were not so stellar, and the pressure and anxiety he faced from his piers, being on Golf Channel and the news, playing in a golf match, and partaking in celebrity golf events seemed to further fuel his poor play. Even Tiger Woods, fellow sports figures and celebrities, and practically anybody could be seen impersonating Barkley’s unique move as an ongoing joke.
This led him to seek out further help and lessons, including from Hank Haney and tips from PGA Tour professionals, including Darren Clarke (where Clarke during a Champions Tour event at TPC Sugarloaf could be seen getting Charles to turn his chest hard through the ball).
More recently, Barkley has employed the help of swing instructor Stan Utley, and Chuck’s swing hitch appears to have been cured. Let’s further look at the transformation and the key difference I see!
The Charles Barkley Golf Swing BEFORE
When we look at the before of Charles Barkley’s golf swing, you’ll see he really used to freeze up as he started down. Everything sort of dropped towards the golf ball. When I say everything, Chuck dropped his head, his chest, and even his hands were moving towards the ball. This distinctive move led some to label him as having the worst golf swing in the world.
This full body down cock caused the shaft to get very steep in transition resulting in him being locked up with almost nowhere to go! You can bet this resulted in dreadful shots on the golf course, and especially during any event with all eyes on him like the Mitsubishi Electric Classic Pro-Am.
From this steep, stuck position, it was a guessing game whether Chuck would time it right for a good shot to find the fairway or green. I can’t imagine he was having much fun back then!
The Charles Barkley Golf Swing AFTER
Now let’s look at the significant changes made in the Charles Barkley golf swing. When we watch Charles Barkley’s swing at full speed now we see some better flow in his action without that noticeable hitch. Credit to Utley, as Barkley has made some significant improvements here!
He actually swings the golf club now, with more of a fluid motion. But why and how is this possible? Well let’s take a look at what happens in transition. Before, Charles actually had some cool stuff where he flexed in the early stages of the downswing.
Many great players can be seen making a similar flex move to begin the downswing. Even Tiger could be seen rehearsing a similar move during his great run in 2019 which included his win at The Masters.
However, Barkley coupled this move with some really bad elements as well. As I mentioned before, this resulted in a a very steep shaft. Now when we look at Charles Barkley’s golf swing, we can see the club gets a bit across the line at the top of his backswing. This can work if you make a nice big turn and give yourself time.
From here, Charles’ shaft actually shallows a bit, with the club head getting back behind his hands. At shaft parallel to the ground in the downswing, Barkley is actually in a pretty good delivery position where the club is behind his hands and his body has squared up. From there he can just turn and deliver the club to the back of the ball. This shallowing move is completely foreign to that of his former swing.
Below you will find my full YouTube analysis on the Charles Barkley golf swing and how Charles Barkley improved his play. Each swing is played in full speed so you can clearly see how much better his swing flows now versus his former hitched move.
I guess the analysts on Golf Channel and other outlets can’t be laughing any more! I give Charles Barkley and Stan Utley a lot of credit for this seemingly dramatic change, both in swing and confidence.
The Charles Barkley golf swing is in a much better place now and I imagine Charles can swing and hit more freely than ever thanks to this subtle change in transition. Many golfers that I work with on a daily basis come to me with a similar over-the-top, steep pattern, and rest assured this transformation seen by Barkley presents a great model.
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